Someone or something is leaning close to me now.

—Marie Howe from “Prayer”


It happened twice,

the kind of thing you don’t tell


anyone. At work,

drying my hands,


the scent of lemon verbena

soap envelops me, the hot


air welcome.

I don’t remember what was going


on in my life, but it was winter

and my husband was alive.


The dryer stopped its flow.

No one else in the restroom,


the quiet intense, unsettling.

A prickling I felt


like static electricity, and a voice

whispered my name.


A deep peace settled over me,

as I pushed open the door,


walked to my desk,

the soft click of computer keys


like rain on glass.



Karen George is the author of five chapbooks, and two poetry collections from Dos Madres PressSwim Your Way Back (2014) and A Map and One Year (2018). Her work has appeared in Adirondack Review, Louisville Review, Naugatuck River Review, Sliver of Stone, America Magazine, and Still: The Journal.

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